On Monday, Jan. 15, Philadelphia received its first taste of snow this season. More snow and ice followed on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and Friday, Jan. 19, which the Philadelphia Inquirer described as the closest thing we have had to “an old-fashioned” snowfall in two years.
According to ABC News, this snowfall broke a 715-day drought with over 1 inch of snow, with the last time the city had over 1 inch of snow being on Jan. 29, 2022.
Drexel University’s operations felt the effects of this sudden snowfall. After the first powdering of snow on the evening of Jan. 15, Drexel released a university-wide email on Jan. 16 saying that due to the weather, all on-campus operations would be delayed until 10 a.m.
Drexel again suspended certain services due to the larger snowfall on Friday, Jan. 19, such as the Drexel bus services, which did not resume until Sunday, Jan. 21.
Several students expressed their delight at having snow after nearly two years of only a few snowflakes here and there.
Third year student Brandon Leibowitz reported that it “has been annoying” that Philadelphia doesn’t get snow very often, so this rare occurrence of snow “was great” and “very exciting.”
Many students had similar sentiments; fourth year student Yair Oppenheim feels snow “slows everything down,” and gives us an opportunity to “pause” and “live a little more,” appreciating what usually gets lost in the hectic day-to-day.
International students also had positive reactions to the snow. Second year student Eden Sutton, expressed that she thinks that “there’s something magical about snow,” especially for international students who come from “very warm, desert-y places.”
Another second year international student, Nassar Otmani, felt that the snow brings “a feeling of calm and tranquility,” which gives people a moment to slow down.
Otmani also said it is great to see communities “come together” to enjoy winter activities, like student snowball fights and snowman building.
Even though many students enjoyed the snow, it also presented some challenges, particularly regarding mobility and safety.
Sutton described some disappointment with how Philadelphia handled the snow and felt they did not do “the best of jobs” in clearing its streets of ice or putting down salt before the snowfall.
“As a foreigner, no one really tells you how to deal with it yourself,” Sutton expressed. She continued to explain that while the snow looked pretty one day, “you find yourself walking on ice and probably getting hurt the next.”
The regular challenges of acclimating to different climates and all that comes with snow were only heightened by the ice sheet covering campus on Jan. 16.
Second year student Yael Passy, described that she loves snow, and being from the south, she doesn’t get to see it so often, making it an exciting, “very fun” opportunity; she also noted the difficulties that come with it.
Passy felt that after the roads and sidewalks got icy following the first snow: “No one was lifting up the ice, so it was a little dangerous on campus.”
She further described how “Drexel did a great job for the second snow,” but that the university seemed “a little unprepared” for the first snowfall and that campus “felt a little dangerous” the first few days.
Other students had similar experiences; for example, third year student Gavi Spellman was happy about the snow and said that it was “nice” to see the snow “for the first time in a couple of years on campus.”
However, Spellman also felt that it was “kind of icy out” and that there wasn’t enough salting at the beginning, which made the roads and sidewalks slippery.
Spellman described that he felt that Drexel corrected it later on and put more salt out, which made the campus “a little safer, which was nice,” but that it was “a little bit difficult at first,” citing that he even “slipped a couple of times.”
Along with the general disappointment with how Drexel handled the snow in terms of clearing the streets and sidewalks, some students expressed disappointment at how some Drexel departments dealt with absences due to the snow.
The snow and icy sidewalks made it difficult for some students, especially commuters, to make it to class.
First year commuter student Pha Punsuk, was unable to make it to classes due to the snow but, per Drexel’s policy, was not granted an excused absence, which she was “disappointed” about.
The snow itself, combined with Drexel suspending buses on the days it snowed, made it much more difficult for commuters to make it to classes. Those who braved the cold and perilous icy sidewalks often fell on their way to classes, with reports of such incidents commonplace on Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, even with the icy-cold conditions, students still enjoyed the snow. From snowball fights to making snow cream, building snowmen, or even sledding down the hill by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Drexel students still found ways to make the most of this increasingly rare opportunity.